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Farm to Summer Celebration Week

Information about California’s Farm to Summer Celebration Week for summer meal program operators, including background, how to participate, past successes, trainings, partners, resources, best practices, and list of awardees.

Overview

Farm to Summer (F2Summer) is about program operators of the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) sourcing local foods and providing complementary educational activities that emphasize food, agriculture, and nutrition. The California Department of Education (CDE) encourages program operators of the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option to participate in F2Summer activities.

F2Summer Week in California is celebrated annually in June. For the summer of 2024, June 17–21, 2024 is F2Summer Week! This week is dedicated to celebrating local foods on the menu, offering a test taste sample in your meals, and providing opportunities for children to experience agricultural-based education activities. Some ideas for celebrating include: incorporating local foods in your food service, providing an agricultural or nutrition education lesson, sharing current successes with another program operator, watching a virtual farm tour, or inviting community partners (such as a farmer, master gardener, parent volunteer or local health department staff) to your site to lead an activity!

F2Summer Celebration Week is a recognition program that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees at the federal level and the CDE Nutrition Services Division (NSD) implements at the state level. The NSD recognizes program operators of the CNPs in California that complete the three elements during the designated F2Summer Week: 1) Taste, 2) Teach and 3) Connect. Program operators that participate by completing a pre and post survey and the three elements of the Celebration week will receive a One in a Melon Award. The theme for summer 2024 is Let’s Have a Picnic.

To learn more about Farm to School, visit the CDE Farm to School web page.

Background

The F2Summer movement is a growing trend supported by interest and enthusiasm for including local foods on the menu and teaching children where food comes from. The first F2Summer Week Challenge was created in 2018 by the USDA to encourage more CNP sponsors to participate in F2Summer activities. Since then, the NSD has supported this campaign annually. Past efforts include:

  • In 2021, the USDA retitled the F2Summer Week Challenge to the F2Summer Celebration Week and is supporting state agencies and program operators in implementing the celebration however it best fit the program operators schedule and environment, whether it be virtually, in-person, or a combination of both. The theme for California for summer of 2021 was Celebrate Local Foods!

  • In 2022, many summer program sites returned to in-person instruction and were able to incorporate hands-on activities that connected with the Get to Know Your Local Farm(s) theme! Participants reported connecting with the theme in a variety of ways including:
    • Having farmers visit their schools
    • Providing a sensory challenge
    • Having students visit a local farm
    • Having students visit a local farm
    • Using local produce to make simple recipes for the students to enjoy
    • Encouraging culinary students to utilize their seasonal produce

  • In 2023, the theme was Create Your Own Farmstand. Participants connected to the theme in a variety of ways including:
    • Hosting a wellness event with a farmers’ markets and allowing customers to use their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card
    • Partnering with the county to offer a community farmers market
    • Making their own farm stand and having students learn about and try different produce sourced locally
    • Using pop-up tables, displays, and backdrops to create a farmstand complete with banners, wooden baskets, hay bales and other farm décor 

How to Participate

To complete the F2Summer Celebration, program operators must 1) Complete the F2Summer Celebration Week Pre-Survey, 2) Conduct the three activities at least once during the designated F2Summer Celebration Week, and 3) Complete the F2Summer Celebration Week Survey.

  1. Complete the California Farm to Summer Week Celebration Pre-Survey.

  2. Conduct the following three activities at least once during the designated F2Summer Celebration Week:

    • Taste: Serve a locally sourced food item that students can taste. The tasting can occur during a snack or meal, during a nutrition activity, or in the garden! The USDA does not define the term local, the definition is to be determined and defined at the school food authority level. The definition of the word local can also change based on the season or the type of product. Local could mean within a city, a county, or a specific region. These snacks or meals can come from the school garden or school farm, an individual farmer, a farmer’s market, through a distributor, from USDA foods or USDA Department of Defense (DoD) also known as DoD Fresh, or a food hub.

    • Teach: Provide an agricultural-based education activity. For curriculum ideas, visit the Resources tab on the CDE Farm to School web page or visit the CDE Resource Library web page.

    • Connect: Share your activities on social media, on your organization’s website, via a newsletter article, or email to your school community, or invite the press to attend an event! You could do one of these or all of them!

  3. Complete the California Farm to Summer Celebration Week Post Survey (The Post Survey is typically available in June)

All program operators that conduct the Celebration Week and complete the pre and post survey will have their organizations recognized in a listserv and during the NSD Town Hall meeting. Their name will be posted on the F2Summer Celebration Week Awardees tab and their school will receive a One in a Melon Award!

Past Successes

Benefits

Participants of the F2Summer Celebration Week have the opportunity to report the benefits they received from participating in the Celebration week. Participants were allowed to report more than one benefit.

In 2023:

  • 81 percent of participants reported that the Celebration week was in alignment with their meal service, school mission, and vision.
  • 81 percent witnessed greater community support for the summer meal programs
  • 75 percent noticed a greater acceptance of the meal
  • 63 percent saw an increase in participation
  • 63 percent saw better food quality
  • 47 percent witnessed increased kitchen staff satisfaction
  • 38 percent reported reduced food waste
  • 9 percent reported lower cost meals

Quotes

Student Quotes
Food Service Quotes
Parent/Guardian Quotes

Participants of the celebration week also had an opportunity to share statements that summed up their student, staff and parent celebration experiences. Below are some of the inspiring quotes we received.

Student Quotes

  • "A student expressed sincere appreciation for the vegetarian and vegan-based barbeque options served for lunch. She said, "I not only feel included in the barbeque celebration, but that I have amazing choices that support my lifestyle."
    • Student at Redland Unified School District (USD)

  • “Can you have the smoothie bike out here every day? I need to practice riding!”
    • Student at Jurupa USD

  • "The corn and black bean salad is vibrant and has a refreshing taste." (Some students even ventured to try new vegetables that they never considered trying before.)
    • Student at Riverside USD

  • "Tomatoes grow on plants?"
    • Student at Morongo USD

  • "I never tried this, but I will eat them every chance I can".
    • Student at Hughson USD

  • “Thank you for making sure I have food.”
    • Student at Redlands USD

  • "I love watermelon, can I have more?"
    • Student at Hesperia USD

  • “Best summer ever, healthy food, healthy life.”
    • Student at Heber Elementary School District

  • "This is delicious (tasting a nectarine from a local farm for the first time)!”
    • Student at Yuba City USD

  • "I want to make these recipes at home!"
    • Student at San Luis Coastal USD

  • "This is the best thing I've ever tried at school (referring to our local red lentil dal)!"
    • Student at San Luis Coastal USD

Food Service Quotes

  • This was the most fun I have had working at a special event. The atmosphere was light and fun. I enjoyed serving the students in a park-like setting.
    • New Team member from Redland USD

  • Seeing these kids eat cherries makes me smile…. seeing all their cherry-stained purple fingers!"
    • San Luis Coastal USD
  • "Smiling children makes everything worth it.”
    • Miguel at Mountain View School District

  • “This is a great opportunity to promote the local foods we regularly serve on our menus!”
    • Fresno USD

  • “We LOVE celebrating Farm 2 Summer Week! The freshest, most delicious strawberries are grown just a few miles from our schools at Cal Poly's Strawberry Center! Students get to taste the sweetness of these local berries and experience the beauty of locally sourced items with our fabulous F2Summer program this year!”
    • San Luis Coastal USD

  • “It was great to see the excitement and energy from the students to learn about and eat watermelon; and for some it was their very first time trying it.”
    • Weaver Union School District

  • “F2Summer Celebration Week provided Riverside Unified School District the ability to bring awareness of locally grown produce served through summer meals. It allowed youth to explore hands-on agriculture-based activities and encouraged increased intake of locally grown fruit through produce taste-testing activity.”
    • Adleit at Riverside USD

  • “Students can be so inquisitive when they have an opportunity to learn something new in a hands-on activity. F2Summer often allows us the opportunity to do nutrition education in a small group setting, where you can answer student questions and give students the opportunity to truly participate in the activity.”
    • Michelle at Elk Grove USD

  • “A great way to collaborate with our local farmers and create an ongoing flourishing relationship to better both school meals and local small agriculture.”
    • Kristin at Brentwood Union School District

Parent/Guardian Quotes

  • "So many families have thanked us for the opportunity to have local produce made accessible to them!"
    • Parents/Guardian from Lodi USD
  • "Thank you for inspiring my child to get in the kitchen at home and try new foods! I can't wait to have them make dinner!"
    • Parents/Guardian from San Luis Coastal USD
  • “I had no idea the district provided meals for the kids during the summer, thank you so much for doing this.”
    • Parents/Guardian from Jurupa USD
  • “I’ve never got my son to even look at apricots and now he has to have them.”
    • Parent/Guardian from Hughson USD
  • “We love that our kids are getting fresh fruit.”
    • Parent/Guardian from Redlands USD

Trainings

Online Trainings
Additional Online Training Databases

Online Trainings

Course Number Course Name Training Topic Target Audience
550

F2Summer Week Challenge External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 20:31)

Please note: F2Summer Challenge is now known as F2Summer Celebration Week

Menu Planning or Nutrition Education
Child and Adult Care Food Program Directors, Food Service Directors and Staff, Teachers
External USDA
Menu Planning or Nutrition Education
Summer Meal Program Food Service Directors, Staff

Additional Online Training Databases

To find additional online trainings, visit the:

Partners

The following tables provide a list of organizations you can reach out to for assistance procuring locally sourced foods and providing on-site assistance with agricultural-based enrichment activities. If you need their assistance, it is advisable to contact them early!

Taste—Assistance with local procurement
Teach—On-site assistance providing agricultural-based education activities

Taste—Assistance with Local Procurement

Organization Contact Information Assistance Provided
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Office of Farm to Fork–Farm to School (F2S) Program External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Michael Ackley-Grady

Email: Michael.Ackley-Grady@cdfa.ca.gov
Connecting with local food producers and navigating F2S resources
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Yousef Buzayan, Farm to Cafeteria Manager

Email: yousef@caff.org

Provides technical assistance (TA) with procuring local foods, and a free Bid Generator for Request for Proposals

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Location External link opens in new window or tab. Navigate the web page to find the UCCE nearest you.

Provides help finding farms near you

Teach—On-site Assistance Providing Agricultural-Based Education Activities

Organization/Program Contact Information Assistance Provided
The UCCE–Master Gardener Program External link opens in new window or tab. Scroll down the web page and select the county on the California map to reach the UCCE Master Gardener Program nearest you. Garden-based education activities or Ask a Master Gardener a Question
CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California (UC) External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Anna Jones, School Wellness and Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Project Manager

Email: anajones@ucdavis.edu

Nutrition education activities and taste tests of locally sourced foods for schools that qualify for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC services
California Foundation for Agriculture (Ag) in the Classroom External link opens in new window or tab.

Contact: Judy Culbertson, Executive Director

Phone: 916-561-5625

Email: info@learnaboutag.org
Technical Assistance regarding standard-aligned agricultural-based lessons and enrichment activities
Center for Ecoliteracy External link opens in new window or tab.

Phone: 510-845-4595

Email: info@ecoliteracy.org

TA by phone or email on F2Summer promotion, educational activities, and celebrations

 

Resources

Below are resources that participants can utilize to help promote, plan, implement, and enhance their Celebration week.

Promotion
Procurements
Policy
Planning Guides and Toolkits
General Resources

Promotion

Resources Description

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) Farm to Cafeteria Signage Request Form External link opens in new window or tab.

Use Farm to Cafeteria Signage to promote seasonal produce from local family farmers to students and the community. Display posters, signs, liquid crystal display
(LCD) images, and table tents when you serve local produce to raise awareness and recognition for your Farm to Cafeteria program. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact the Farm to Market team at farmtocafeteria@caff.org.
USDA Taste-Testing Event Posters and Resources External link opens in new window or tab. Taste tests are a great way to introduce new menu items and get students excited to try healthy food choices. Use these posters, stickers, and rate-your-taste resources to help plan and host a successful F2Summer Celebration week taste-testing event.

Procurement

Resources Description

USDA Procuring Local Foods for CNPs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

An increasing number of program operators are sourcing local foods and providing complementary educational activities that emphasize food, agriculture, and nutrition. While interest for buying local foods has grown, uncertainty about the rules for purchasing locally grown products persists. This resource covers many key topics to assist with this process, such as: Menu Planning, Procurement Principals and Regulations, Procurement Methods, Opportunities to Target Local Producer, Sections of a Solicitation, Geographic Preference, Buying Products from the School Garden, Supporting Local Foods in Tribal Schools, Beyond Lunch: Buying Local Foods for Summer, Using USDA Foods and Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh, Comparing Procurement Methods, and more.
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Certified Farmers Market Locator by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) Need assistance finding farmers markets for hyper-local foods for your meal programs, Farm to Summer Celebration Week, or both? The CDFA provides a Certified Farmers Market Locator by County list for California to assist with locating these markets.
CDFA Certified Producers by County External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) Need assistance finding local producers and foods for your meal programs, Farm to Summer Celebration Week, or both? The CDFA provides Certified Producers by County list in California to assist with locating these producers.
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program Find a Food Hub web page External link opens in new window or tab. Need assistance finding local Food Hubs? Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program provides a list of participating food hubs in the California Food Hub Network.

Policy

Resources Description

USDA Local Foods and Related Activities in Summer Meal Programs External link opens in new window or tab.

The purpose of this memorandum and attached questions and answers is to provide guidance on the incorporation of local foods and nutrition and agriculture-based activities in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), collectively referred to as summer meal programs.

Planning Guides and Toolkits

Resources Description
Center for Ecoliteracy How to Plan a Student-Centered Farmer Visit to Your School Guide and Checklist External link opens in new window or tab. Looking to host a farmer at your site? This farmer visit planning guide is designed for all school personnel to use with a downloadable checklist!
Center for Ecoliteracy F2Summer Planning Guide External link opens in new window or tab. This planning guide distills tips and best practices for building community support, conducting grassroots outreach, planning F2Summer menus, and more.
USDA Summer Meals Toolkit: Reaching Families External link opens in new window or tab. Summer meal programs rely on innovation and collaboration to reach children who need good nutrition when school is out of session. This toolkit gives state administrators, program operators, and community partners creative ideas and resources to facilitate summer meal planning, raise awareness, overcome obstacles and serve nutritious food that is appealing to children.

General Resources

Resources Description
USDA F2Summer: Why Summer Meals Programs are Ripe for Local Foods and Agriculture-Based Activities Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. This fact sheet discusses the benefits of F2Summer activities. Summer is a time of agricultural abundance: plump stone fruits hang heavy on trees, juicy melons and tomatoes explode from their vines, beans begin to dry in their pods, and livestock fed on the most nutritious spring grasses produce delicious meat and dairy products. This fact sheet will review how to integrate local food into summer meals.
National Farm to Fork Network External link opens in new window or tab. This web page provides resources to assist program operators implementing F2S and F2Summer activities. Examples of resources are: Preschool Lesson Plans by Growing Minds, What’s in Season, Pint Size Produce, Easy to Use Activities for Early Childhood, Fresh from the Farm: F2S and Out-of-School Time Programs and much more!

Additional Resources

  • Visit the CDE Resource Library web page to assist program operators with Nutrition Education activities, Agricultural-based Nutrition Education, Recipes, Cooking in the Classroom, and Physical Activity. Examples of resources are: Food Safety from Farm to Fork, Healthalicious Cooking, Nourish: Food and Community, Growing Healthy Kids and much more!

Best Practices

Below is a list of best practices to assist with planning, enjoying, and then wrapping up F2Summer Celebration Week.

Prior to F2Summer Celebration Week
During F2Summer Celebration Week
After F2Summer Celebration Week

Prior to F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Watch the F2Summer Online Training
  • Obtain school administration and staff support
  • Utilize the CDE partners or school district partners for assistance
  • Complete the California Farm to Summer Week Celebration Pre-Survey.
  • Involve students and teachers in choosing activities
  • Connect your activities with the F2Summer theme.
  • Contact your local farms, farmers, food hubs, and distributors ahead of time for availability  
  • Visit the CDE Resources Library for agricultural-based and nutrition education curriculum
  • Consider incorporating nutrition education into core subjects
  • Utilize local produce from USDA Foods
  • Utilize local and/or organic produce from Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh (Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program Operators)
  • Notify Parents/guardians of F2Summer Celebration Week participation by:
    • Email or E-Newsletter
    • District or school website
    • Robo calls
    • Word of mouth
    • Text
  • Post your commitment to participate on your preferred social media platform
  • Leverage help and assistance from parent volunteers, garden staff, farm to school (F2S) Coordinators, nutritionists, students interns and students

During F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Teach agricultural-based and nutrition education lesson(s).
  • Keep track of how many sites and students are participating.
  • Taste local foods and produce.
  • Share your successes with other school districts.
  • Utilize all school spaces including:
    • Classrooms
    • Multipurpose rooms
    • Cafeteria
    • Garden
    • Grassy areas
    • Farm areas
  • Take plenty of photos and videos (Don’t forget student photo releases!).
  • Write down the memorable quotes from students, staff, and parents/guardians.
  • Place recipes and flyers in backpacks.
  • Enjoy your week!

After F2Summer Celebration Week

  • Complete the California Farm to Summer Celebration Week Post Survey (survey available June 2024).
  • Tag the CDE NSD by using our Twitter handle: @CDENutrition.
  • Notify Parents/guardians and the public of your successes by:
    • Email or E-Newsletter
    • District website
    • Text
    • Social Media Platform
  • Consider applying for a Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) Award Program. GRS recognition award gives points to program operators that participate in the F2Summer Celebration Week. For GRS criteria, timelines, contacts, and general information, visit the CDE GRS web page

Awardees

2023

The CDE NSD would like to congratulate the following California program operators for receiving a One in a “Cantaloupe” Melon Certificate of Recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Celebration Week in 2023:

  • Adelanto Elementary School District (SD)
  • Capistrano Unified School District (USD)
  • Elk Grove USD
  • Fallbrook Union Elementary SD
  • Fresno USD
  • Hesperia USD
  • Huntington Beach Union High SD
  • Jurupa USD
  • Lake Elsinore USD
  • Little Lake City SD
  • Lodi USD
  • Morgan Hill USD
  • Morongo Unified SD
  • Ontario-Montclair SD
  • Pajaro Valley USD
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD
  • Riverside Unified SD
  • Rowland Unified SD
  • San Bernardino City USD
  • San Diego USD
  • San Juan USD
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • Santa Cruz City Schools
  • Upland USD
  • Vista USD
  • Winters Joint USD
  • Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint USD
  • Yuba City USD

2022

The CDE NSD would like to congratulate the following California program operators for receiving a One in a “Honeydew” Melon Certificate of Recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Celebration Week in 2022:

  • California Sunrise Foundation
  • Elk USD
  • Fresno USD
  • Glendale USD
  • Heber Elementary SD
  • Hesperia USD
  • Hughson USD
  • Lodi USD
  • Manteca USD
  • Morongo USD
  • Natomas USD
  • Ontario-Montclair SD
  • Palm Springs USD
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD Child Nutrition
  • Riverside USD
  • Rowland USD
  • San Bernardino City USD
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • San Miguel Joint Union SD
  • Santa Cruz City SD
  • Standard SD
  • Vista USD
  • Yuba City USD

2021

The CDE NSD congratulated the following California program operators for receiving a One in a Melon Certificate of Recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Celebration Week in 2021:

  • Antioch USD
  • Baker USD
  • Barstow USD
  • Brentwood Union School District
  • Elk Grove USD
  • Fresno USD
  • Morongo USD
  • Mountain View School District
  • Ontario-Montclair School District
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD
  • Riverside USD
  • San Diego Unified Food Services
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • Santa Cruz City Schools
  • Vista USD
  • Weaver Union School District
  • Winters Joint USD
  • Yuba City USD

2020

The CDE NSD did not offer the F2Summer Week Challenge due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

2019

The CDE NSD congratulated the following California program operators for receiving a One in a Melon Trophy of recognition for completing the three elements of the F2Summer Week Challenge in 2019:

  • A Place Called Home
  • Eastside Union School District
  • Elk Grove USD
  • Natomas USD
  • Ontario-Montclair School District
  • Redlands USD
  • Rialto USD
  • Riverside USD
  • San Luis Coastal USD
  • South Bay Union School District
  • Winters Joint USD

The CDE also congratulated the following program operators for receiving a Certificate of Appreciation for participating in the F2Summer Week Challenge:

  • Adelanto Elementary School District
  • Camp Laurel Foundation
  • Hesperia USD
  • Santa Clara USD
  • San Diego USD
  • Hilmar USD
  • Sacramento City USD

Contacts

California Department of Education F2S Contacts

Farm to School

For questions about F2Summer Celebration Week, contact the farm to school (F2S) Team by email at Farm2School@cde.ca.gov.

Procurement

For questions related to procurement and procurement resources, email NSDProcurementReview@cde.ca.gov.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Team Contacts

For assistance locating farms to procure local foods, contact the Farm to School Network Team at the California Department of Food and Agriculture by email at cafarmtoschool@cdfa.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 14, 2024
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